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Bird communities in traditional wood-pastures with changing management in Eastern Europe

Domenii publicaţii > Biologie + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în revistã ştiinţificã

Autori: Hartel, T., Hanspach, J., Abson, D., Mathe, O., Moga, CI, Fischer, J

Editorial: Basic and Applied Ecology, in press, 2014.


Wood-pastures are fragile ecosystems because they were formed by, and depend on specific, low-intensity multifunctional management. Although their ecological and cultural significance is high, wood-pastures are rapidly deteriorating all over Europe, mainly due to changing land use. We still lack a basic understanding of the ecological value of wood-pastures, and in which features they differ from other landscape elements. In this paper we investigated the ecological value of wood-pastures for passerine birds by (i) comparing bird assemblages of wood-pastures with those of closed forests and open pastures and (ii) exploring the relationships between variables describing wood-pastures and species traits of the bird assemblages. Our study region (Southern Transylvania, Romania) provides a unique opportunity to understand the importance of a traditional cultural and ecological environment for many different organisms. Wood-pastures had a higher overall number of bird species, and a higher spatial turnover in bird community composition than closed forests and open pastures. We found significant associations between bird species traits and habitat structural elements in wood-pastures such as large trees, oak- and pear trees and shrubs. Our findings suggest that traditional wood-pastures in Southern Transylvania have distinct and rich passerine bird communities. This richness is inextricably linked to the multifunctional, low-intensity land use traditionally applied in the wood-pastures that promotes high niche diversity. For effective conservation of the biodiversity of wood-pastures, a detailed understanding is needed of how different management regimes may influence the key structural elements of wood-pastures relevant for biodiversity and these should be protected.

Cuvinte cheie: scattered trees, grazing, dead trees, shrub, traditional cultural landscape, conservation, biodiversity, Romania